Control of diabetes is contingent on numerous factors and behaviours. Self-monitoring of blood glucose or sugar (SMBG) is a key component of the treatment regimen. SMBG provides immediate information on a person’s blood sugar level and thus, could be an important guide for adjusting all factors that affect sugar level control on a timelier basis than A1C (which reflects blood glucose levels over a three-month period). To be useful, SMBG must be integrated into the diabetes self-management plan. While the benefits of SMBG have generally been demonstrated in people with type 1 diabetes, studies assessing the effects of SMBG in people with type 2 diabetes have not always reported consistent results. However, it is short term changes in blood glucose levels that lead to acute complications such as episodes of hypoglycaemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic ketoacidosis; SMBG can be used to help prevent and minimize such complications. SMBG is most effective when it is a continual, integral part of the diabetes management process. It is evident that the value of SMBG is contingent on the accuracy of the blood glucose meters. These instruments may be affected by individual and environmental variables, including hematocrit, hypotension, hypoxia, hypertriglyceridemia, concomitant drugs, as well as temperature and humidity.
Blood sugar targets
Most diabetes organizations have published blood glucose targets for people with diabetes. However, targets should be set individually for each person, using these guidelines as a general guide. In some circumstances more strict control may be required such as during pregnancy or in a women planning pregnancy. Also, there may be circumstances, when less strict control is desirable such as for an older medically compromised person, or a very young child.
ADA (American Diabetic Associations) targets for non-pregnant adults are:
- Premeals blood sugar- 70-130 mg/dl
- Post meals blood sugar- < 180 mg/dl
- HbA1c< 7%
Fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels show how patient is doing during that period of the day, while HbA1c shows average blood glucose level over the past two to three months.